By Alma J. Bennett
Whereas the background of yankee theatre has been largely documented, the background of its woman reviewers has been often neglected. This booklet seeks to right that oversight through exploring the position of the good girl American critics, thereby increasing their canonical prestige. The anthology offers a short description of the women's lives, their operating stipulations, samples in their writing, and helping analyses. For a few readers, it will be a primary stumble upon with girls who should be represented within the American theatre in their occasions and well-known for his or her contributions to the improvement of dramatic concept and feedback.
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Extra info for American Women Theatre Critics: Biographies and Selected Writings of Twelve Reviewers, 1753-1919
Kate Field’s letters to her father in Mobile preview her penchant for criticism. ” Although she never considered herself a feminist, her feelings about equality of the sexes are apparent in various letters to friends. These concerns surfaced at a time when Field was feeling particularly vulnerable to the economic forces of her society as a result of her father’s death on January 28, 1856. She wanted to be independent and able to take care of her mother without relying on the support of her uncle, Milton Sanford.
Her father, Joseph, traced his lineage back to Nathaniel Field, an Elizabethan dramatist and actor in Shakespeare’s company. Her maternal grandmother, Mary Lapsley Riddle, was an actress and friend of Edwin Forrest. While the family remained active in theatre after the birth of the children (a son, “Little Joe,” was born in 1843 but died of cholera before his seventh birthday), home base was St. Louis, although the Fields accepted engagements from New York to New Orleans. When younger, the children traveled with Mrs.
Very tall, handsome, and a superior tragedian”(91). But what makes an actor a superior tragedian she does not say. In the winter of 1860, Field was no longer writing for the Courier. ” These letters, plus her reviews of novels and poetry read while in Europe, contain the seeds of Field’s later, more mature criticism. ”8 Like other women critics of this period, Field seems to believe in a higher social purpose for theatre than mere entertainment. 9 The bulk of Field’s criticism, papers and monographs on Ristori, various Hamlets, Charles Fechter, and dialogues on the stage were published in the Atlantic Monthly between September 1861 and December 1870.